WALTHAM FOREST: Fraud detection record criticised

First published in News by

HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds could have been lost as a result of the council’s poor performance in tackling fraud, according to a watchdog.

The authority has been told to review its procedures after a review found it performed worse than other similar boroughs in a number of areas.

No cases of deception relating to the single person council tax discount were found.

This compares to 1,242 cases with a value of £477,000 detected in a neighbouring borough.

No cases of fraud relating to the use of ‘blue badge’ parking permits were uncovered in 2009 and 2010, despite a neighbouring borough reporting 172 cases with a value of £86,000.

The badges change hands for up to £500 on the black market.

The authority also did not report any cases of fraud relating to social services or council contract procurement.

There were 15 convictions for housing and council tax benefit fraud in Waltham Forest, which is well below the average for outer London boroughs.

However Cllr Michael Lewis, deputy leader of the opposition Conservative group, said he is reassured that the council is determined to tackle the problem.

He said: “It is important we do not give the impression that we are not tackling this problem and of course the council can always do better.

“In cases of individuals claiming to live alone it can be difficult to investigate with people coming and going from properties and the assessor having to partly rely on what the person tells them.

“It is a big concern but the council has told us it is increasing its concentration on this area and others.

The Audit Commission found the authority performed well in detecting recruitment fraud, with 97 cases reported.

The council’s procedures for enabling staff to report wrong-doing by council colleagues were also said to be working well.

Click here to follow the Waltham Forest Guardian on Twitter

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:53pm Mon 28 Feb 11

Walthamster says...

This is exactly what I'd expect from Waltham Forest. Staff don't do their jobs because their lazy supervisors and lazy councillors don't care.

I'm only surprised that Cllr Michael Lewis, deputy leader of the opposition Conservative group, thinks the council is determined to tackle the problem.

Why? They've never tackled it before. Why would they start now?
This is exactly what I'd expect from Waltham Forest. Staff don't do their jobs because their lazy supervisors and lazy councillors don't care. I'm only surprised that Cllr Michael Lewis, deputy leader of the opposition Conservative group, thinks the council is determined to tackle the problem. Why? They've never tackled it before. Why would they start now? Walthamster
  • Score: 1

10:30am Tue 1 Mar 11

mdj says...

Walthamster,
It is one of the great mysteries of living in this Borough: what is the opposition for? Whatever its minority, there have been countless chances to halt Council idiocy on legal grounds, which haven't been taken.
It may be that nationally the Tories think it pays to have some dreadful Labour Councils to display as an awful warning to the voters. But that doesn't justify local Councillors failing to act to protect the interests of those who vote for them. Perhaps mild, impotent grumbling is a comfortable way of life, if there's a pay cheque attached to it.
As far as not detecting fraud goes, it seems likely that there are teams of highly-trained professionals employed by this Council for precisely that purpose!
Walthamster, It is one of the great mysteries of living in this Borough: what is the opposition for? Whatever its minority, there have been countless chances to halt Council idiocy on legal grounds, which haven't been taken. It may be that nationally the Tories think it pays to have some dreadful Labour Councils to display as an awful warning to the voters. But that doesn't justify local Councillors failing to act to protect the interests of those who vote for them. Perhaps mild, impotent grumbling is a comfortable way of life, if there's a pay cheque attached to it. As far as not detecting fraud goes, it seems likely that there are teams of highly-trained professionals employed by this Council for precisely that purpose! mdj
  • Score: 0

11:13am Tue 1 Mar 11

Sam Hain says...

"Perhaps mild, impotent grumbling is a comfortable way of life, if there's a pay cheque attached to it." Never a truer word spoken (or written) mdj, especially when the leader of the opposition's £10,490.58 basic allowance is topped up by a £16,782.09 special allowance and his deputy's basic £10,490.58 is topped up by £12,249.61. Nice work for snoozing on the comfortable leather benches in the overheated Council Chamber or ditto on the sofas in the Members' Room, or in the privacy of one's own office.
"Perhaps mild, impotent grumbling is a comfortable way of life, if there's a pay cheque attached to it." Never a truer word spoken (or written) mdj, especially when the leader of the opposition's £10,490.58 basic allowance is topped up by a £16,782.09 special allowance and his deputy's basic £10,490.58 is topped up by £12,249.61. Nice work for snoozing on the comfortable leather benches in the overheated Council Chamber or ditto on the sofas in the Members' Room, or in the privacy of one's own office. Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

6:39pm Tue 1 Mar 11

NT says...

Rumour has it that all the Lib-Ds bar one are about to jump ship to Labour, so I suppose that partly explains their deafening silence on this and virtually every other issue.
What the Tories are up to is anybody's guess. It certainly appears as if some sort of deal may have been struck. At any rate, the comments reported here are decidedly peculiar, and especially so for a party of opposition.
Rumour has it that all the Lib-Ds bar one are about to jump ship to Labour, so I suppose that partly explains their deafening silence on this and virtually every other issue. What the Tories are up to is anybody's guess. It certainly appears as if some sort of deal may have been struck. At any rate, the comments reported here are decidedly peculiar, and especially so for a party of opposition. NT
  • Score: 0

9:41pm Tue 1 Mar 11

Sam Hain says...

Rats deserting the sinking ship already, NT! Who's the one going down with it I wonder? Tradition dictates it should be the the captain so is it Sullivan?
Rats deserting the sinking ship already, NT! Who's the one going down with it I wonder? Tradition dictates it should be the the captain so is it Sullivan? Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

11:40pm Tue 1 Mar 11

mdj says...

Amazing news if accurate, NT: but where does it leave us? Opposition is a vital part of representative government, whichever side you voted for in an election: how long does the gang in charge seriously expect us to carry on paying our taxes when we're not being represented?
Amazing news if accurate, NT: but where does it leave us? Opposition is a vital part of representative government, whichever side you voted for in an election: how long does the gang in charge seriously expect us to carry on paying our taxes when we're not being represented? mdj
  • Score: 0

10:33am Wed 2 Mar 11

Sam Hain says...

If it's effective opposition you want, mdj, perhaps they should be paid by results - that might galvanise them into action. It doesn't appear anything else will.
If it's effective opposition you want, mdj, perhaps they should be paid by results - that might galvanise them into action. It doesn't appear anything else will. Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree